Sunday, November 25, 2007

Methi Thepala with Whole Wheat Flour (Methi /Fenugreek Chapathis)

One of my friend used to struggle to feed greens to her then year and half old son. She came across methi thepalas which her son used to eat at their neighbour's place, so without wasting time, she then took down this simple recipe from her neighbour and showed me how its prepared. Her son used to to eat this thinking its masala chapathi whereas the nutrition in fresh methi would reach upto him! That was four years back.

Now having my own 3 year old and 22 month old, feeding greens is an issue until its camouflaged into something else. This recipe came to my mind when I saw fresh methi, thinking hard how I could feed them. They eat it thinking its yellow chapathi, and now I have made it twice over!

Methi is good for body any day, but during winters especially as it is considered to generate more heat in our body. Similarly its a laxative(at my place I was fed Methi sabji post delivery for easing bowels) as well as induces lactation(aids in milk production for mothers).

Wiki has good amount of information and also mentions that methi helps protect against breast and colon cancer. 'Thepalas' as per my knowledge are prepared mixing the masalas or greens into the wheat flour directly and kneading it into a dough. Where as 'Parathas' are stuffing the wheat dough with our choice of veggies (like potatoes, radish being most popular) Thepalas dough is supposed to be kneaded with minimum usage of water and more of oil but I used water to knead it.

This is how I made it.

Ingredients :
1 bunch fresh methi leaves
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 tbspn oil for kneading
1 tsp salt
1 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp ova/ajwain/omam
1 tsp jeera/cumin powder
1 tsp coriander / dhania powder
2 green chillies
1/3rd cup water

Method :
Pluck the methi leaves out of the stem, clean methi leaves under flowing water until its totally clean of any sediments or soil. Finely chop it along with green chillies. ( I used food processor to do it) In a big mixing bowl take whole wheat flour, add salt. Heat the oil till warm maybe for 30 secs, and pour it in. Mix in properly till all flour gets well mixed with the oil. Add the masalas, turmeric,chilli powder,dhania jeera powder and ajwain and mix well. Add the finely chopped methi and green chillies and knead with little water at a time. (You may knead using oil too )
Methi already gives out water hence use water sparingly.

Once you get well kneaded dough, cover and keep aside for half an hour.

Divide into equal balls. I got 9 golf sized balls out of the above measure.

Dust the counter lightly with dry wheat flour, dip the ball in flour, dust off the excess flour of the ball. Keep the ball on the dusted counter top and with belan /rolling pin roll out into in the picture.

On a medium flame, pour a tsp oil and fry both sides. Remove on a plate, brush some oil on top side of the thepala.

Serve hot with any subji of your choice or dahi/yoghurt. My kids like to have it with tomato sauce!!


Thursday, November 22, 2007

Dahi Usal

Usal Paav is a special breakfast item in Mumbai..Maharashtra to be specific. Some of the Udupi joints serve this and tastes special only when some expert chefs prepare it. One such yummy tasting 'Watana Usal' was available in my college canteen, garnished with farsaan,coriander leaves, chopped onions and a half of lemon, served with two big paav! Then that addition of Farsaan to Usal gave the dish a new name, 'Misal'!! It was simply out of this world!

We friends used to have it every alternate day after all our lectures were over. At times the taste would tempt me into having a second plate too!! All it costed a decade ago was Rs. 5/plate!

Moong usal was new to me, as at my place 'Matki' usal was made on certain weekends.
Shilpa of AR posted this recipe, tempting me enough to make it that evening itself! The result was awesome!! Though I did not have farsaan or sev (as Shilpa has used) , I went ahead and made the Usal, and garnished it with yoghurt, and new thing to me in usal was adding the chaat masala which I love a lot and enjoyed this combo with my family!
Shilpa's original recipe is here. Thanks a lot Shilpa.

Ingredients :

To make Curry/ Usal-
2 cups sprouted green moong
1 cup boiled potato
1 chopped tomato medium sized
1 chopped onion medium size
1/2 tsp rai (mustard seeds)
1/2 tsp jeera (cumin seeds)
2 green chilies (add 3 more if you want it spicy)
1 sprig kadipatta (curry leaves)
1 pinch hing (asafoetida)
1 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp haldi powder (turmeric)
2 tbsp coriander leaves -chopped finely

Vegetable Oil

Garnishing Ingredients :

1 cup Yoghurt/dahi (plain or bit sweetened)
1/2 tsp chaat masala (Everest)
Sev or Farsaan (personal preference)

1 small onion finely chopped
fresh coriander leaves chopped finely
lemon to squeeze just before eating

Method :
In a kadhai, heat oil, splutter rai, add jeera, green chillies, curry leaves, hing. Fry for a minute or two..add onions, fry till transculent. Mix in the haldi, add the moong and pour 1 cup water mix well and cover the lid till its cooked well. Stir in between. Takes 7-8 minutes. Open the lid, add boiled potatoes, coriander,cumin and chilli powders and salt, stir in well, add the chopped coriander and let it come to one boil on a medium flame. Add more water if needed.
Usal is ready.

Serving : In a plate serve the usal, layer it with the farsaan, then chopped onions and lastly coriander leaves. Add dahi just before eating and sprinkle with some chaat masaala..if some sourness is needed, squeeze few lemon juice drops. Eat this healthy snack as is or with Paav.


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Almond-Coconut Cookies

Cookies yet again! One-Almond studded Peach colored cookies which promptly caught my attention were posted by Pravs! Drooled and had to try them out! They were very coconuty and almondy flavoured, simply melted in mouth!

Thanks Pravs for posting such a simple yet very tasty cookies..for all those cookie lovers I would say its a Must Try!! The below measure gave an yield of 25 cookies.

Ingredients :
1 cup maida
3/4th cup almond skinless (coarsely ground)
1/2 cup coconut (dessicated)
1/2 cup butter (1 stick/100 gms)
1/2 cup sugar (granulated)
25 halved almonds for garnishing

Method :
Preheat oven for 10 mins at 350 deg. F for gas oven. (I set the temperature in my electric oven to 160 deg C for 10 min). Make a dough by mixing butter, sugar, coconut,almond, maida in that order. Make balls of same shape, make batches and keep aside. Line baking sheet with parchment/waxed paper . Take each ball and flatten them with your hand, in each cookie press a slivered almond. (Like in the pic below)

Leave an inch between each cookie place in the oven.

They would spread on baking. Bake for 11-12 minutes or until you find the bottom of cookie golden brown. The cookie has a lovely peach colour on top, might look a bit mushy but once you cool them, they turn beautifully crisp and melt in the mouth. Also a nice coconut and almond flavour comes even as an aftertaste!!

This was first batch with dome shaped, without an almond pressed in. (For my oven..first batch was 170° C for 12 mins and 2nd and 3rd batch at 160° C for 11 mins)

This is what the second batch looked like, third batch too was similar.

Tips :
* To blanch almonds, there are two ways..
a. soak them overnight in water and peel the following day
b. Heat water(3:1 ratio to almonds) to a boiling point, once bubbles are given out, pour the almonds and put off flame. Let it cool completely; takes approx one hour...hold the almond between thumb and forefinger, give a light press. The almond will slip out of skin. (This works easier for me) Got to dry it for sometime.

Come N have a cookie!!!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Mukhwas / Mouth-freshner

Saunf or Fennel seeds are usually popped in post a meal to aid digestion and also as mouth freshner. There are varieties available in India. Most commonly found are the colorful sugar-coated fennel seeds.

The one that I usually have in my pantry is a store-bought one with slight addition of sugar coated tiny candy balls, a bit of flavoured -minced-supari (chest nuts) and some mint leaves in it.

I frequented a restaurant in Borivili West (Mumbai) mainly to nibble on this. Hence I re-created it at home, and it was liked by family and friends alike. There is no cooking or hard work involved, it requires only mixing of few things.

Ingredients :
150 gms fennel seeds
2 tbsp powdered sugar
50 gms sugar coated fennel seeds

Method :
Dry roast the fennel seeds till slightly browned and allow to cool at room temperature.
Once it cools, add powdered sugar and sugar coated fennel seeds. Store in a dry air tight container. Nibble on it any time you please!!!

We can have variations based on flavours our taste buds demand.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Pattal Bhaaji And Kuboos

A special note of thanks to my mom's elder sis (whom I call Amma), who fondly used to made this dish especially for me !! Thankyou Amma.

Pattal Bhaaji is a Konkani name for a curry which has more proportion of gravy in it. This coastal dish is prepared with numerous variations and with different ingredients along the coastal side!
I have been eating this variation since last 3 decades and my taste buds just love the flavours which emanate when eaten along with buron pav(hard crust bread) , soft pav or even kuboos (like American Pita bread its an Arabic bread).

This is made at my place. The recipe follows-
Ingredients :
3 medium sized potatoes
2 medium sized onions
1 tsp haldi / turmeric powder
salt to taste

To be grind into a paste :
1 -3 green chillies (as per taste)
3/4 cup freshly scraped / dessicated coconut
1 tsp jaggery
2-3 flakes of small garlic
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds

For seasoning :
10-15 crushed flakes of small garlic
1/2 tbspn coconut oil

Method :
Cook the potatoes and onion with enough water to submerge them, along with salt and haldi.
Stir occasionally. Cook till they are done, but in shape and not mashed. Add 2-3 cups water and bring to boil. (Add/ reduce water as per the liquid consistency required)

Grind to a fine paste the second batch of ingredients. Slightly toast before grinding, all except jaggery and chillies. (optional) Add this paste to the potato-onion mixture and mix well. Once it starts to boil, put off the stove. Heat coconut oil in a tadka pan, along with the garlic, on a low flame, allowing the garlic to get slightly browned. Add to the potato onion mixture, stir well and cover for flavours to blend.
Serve hot with chapati/ any type of bread/ kuboos.


Tomato Rice With Microwave-d Paapad /Tamatar Rice

A satiating and delightful combo of tomato rice and Lightly Toasted MW Paapad.

The tomato rice recipe is from Pravs of Simply Spicy Blog. Thanks for posting and sharing this recipe, Pravs! The recipe has been slightly moderated to suit my pantry.

Ingredients :
2 cups sona mussorie rice
3 cups water
2-3 big tomatoes chopped
1 tbspn ginger-garlic paste
1 medium onion chopped
1 green chilli
1/4 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
1/4 tsp fennel seeds (saunf)
1 sprig curry leaves (kadipatta)
1 tbspn cooking oil
Salt to taste

Method :
Wash and keep the rice aside.(Basmati can also be used for this.)
In a kadhai, heat oil, splutter the jeera, saunf, add chopped chilli, ginger-garlic paste, stir till golden brown. Add the onions, stir further till the onions are browned, add the tomatoes and cook them till they are mashed. Mix in the salt.
Pour the water, once it starts boiling rapidly, add the washed rice. Let it boil and then simmer.
Cover and cook till done.

Serve with pickle and paapad.

I have used micro wave to toast the paapads. The main reason is it is oil-free and in shape gets evenly toasted!!
Method : Slightly brush the paapads with half tsp oil on both sides.(This step is optional, I do not use oil at all) On the turntable place on high power, for 35 sec. Wait for half a minute, turn it the other side, mw high again for 35 sec or till done. Oil is optional..I have not used any oil. This makes for nice sour and tangy dinner.


Sunday, November 4, 2007

Poori Bhaaji / Puri Bhaaji

Puri Bhaaji is one dish which is served on special occassions, holidays or festivals! It is one breakfast which I consider very Royal, since childhood, have always awaited for it right from the time puri dough is being kneaded and the yummy potato bhaaji which gives out mouthwatering aroma even after it is through! Mmmmmm I am getting more nostalgic and the aroma takes me down the time zone when, as kids we would declare a puri bhaaji breakfast to Amma, who would within no time dish out this tasty wonder, and me and my brother would poke into the hot puris to have fun with the steam that rushed out of it! Cut 2 - going to native place.. school vacations were synonym for a drive to our native place - Karnataka.(Dakshina Karnataka-DK) On our way we used to ensure that our Dad (Aanu as we call in Konkani) -who also hates restaurant food, to take us to one..reason being hungry on drive! So Aanu had no other options but to make a halt at any medium sized, hygienic looks waala restaurant..what would we doubt but our fave 'Boori Bhaaji' yes..its called that as we trail along the south side..I still wonder whether is spelling error or they love that name!! SO finally all of us used to relish on that lovely Puri Bhaaji!
Now enough of my lengthy stories..coming back into the present where I have stepped into age 3 and my daughter too would step into her third year of age, 4 days from now !!(yeah I am forgetful and didn't suffix my 3 with a 3rd decade of my age it be!
My daughter, my son both love this dish too..they hog on the hot puris while in making!
Here is the recipe for both :

I have taken lots of tips from Shilpa of Aayi's Recipes. Please follow her stepwise photographic instructions for making pooris also her tips most importantly for those 'Perfect', 'Puffed' N 'Oil-free' Puris!

For Puris :

Ingredients :
3 cups wheat flour/gehu ka atta
1 tbspn fine rava/ semolina
2-3 tsp oil (warmed)
1 tsp salt
1.5 cup milk
Oil for frying

Method :

Knead the above ingredients into a tight dough, using milk or water if needed. The pooris should be rolled out immediately without standing time. The rolled out puris batch should not be stacked above each other. Heat oil and fry out these puris as per Shilpa's tutorials. Take them on a paper towel for any drops of oil to be absorbed.

So puris done..lets move over to bhaaji. This recipe is from my Mother-In-Law. Its
very tasty!

For Bhaaji :
3 medium sized potatoes(peeled and quartered)
2 medium sized red onions
1-5 green chillies (depending on how much teekha you need)
1 small sized tomato
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp haldi / turmeric
water to cook
Coriander leaves /fresh dhania for garnishing

seasoning/tadka -
1 tbpsn cooking oil
1 tsp rai (mustard seeds)
1 tsp urad daal
2 sprig curry leaves(kadipatta)
2 whole red chillies( bedgi)

Method :

In a kadhai or pan, place the chopped potatoes,tomato,onions, slit green chillies. Add water enough to submerge the veggies with water layer one inch above the veggies. Add salt and haldi. Cover, cook on medium flame, with stirring in between. Cook till done. The potatoes should look mashed. Open the lid, and let the excess water if any, get evaporated. In a tadka pan, heat oil, splutter the rai, add urad till golden brown, halve the red chillies and add to oil. Put off the stove. Add curry leaves. Now pour this seasoning on the cooked veggies in kadhai, mix well and cover for the flavours to blend. Garnish with coriander leaves prior to serving.

Serve HOT HOT puris (in konkani as they say..huni huni poori ani bhaaji) and serve with bhaaji.

Ideally Bhaaji should be prepared prior to pooris. :)


Semiya Payasam and Vanilla Cake !

Semiya Payasam is our why not make it all over again..this time to commemorate our 5th Wedding Anniversary!! Recipe here...but minus the khajoor (dates) paste, substituted with 180 gms of Nestle condensed milk. Other ingredients remain the same!

I love to bake, and have taken to baking since past few months. I jump for occassions where I don't miss the opportunity to bake cake! ;) So all said and done, this was the best chance to again play with my baking skills...which are very limited..I must add ...long way to go!!!!

What else after the Indian sweet dish, but it was turn of a western delight...
A cake! Yes.. I dished out a frosted cake this time! We do not get colour gels here, hence I used some rose syrup to obtain pink colour for the patterns!

Here is the outcome..

I used a ready mix, Betty Crocker's Vanilla Super Moist with Vanilla Cream.
The cake was delicious and the whipped fresh cream lent out a lovely vanilla flavour!

This is the vertical view. I piped the jig-jag lines to signify life..which takes us not straight...but through special and lovely designs of GOD!

Hence we both thank GOD for giving us what HE has !

Now moving on, without getting more senti over this.. have a piece, share our joy!